Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for the ‘privatization’ Category

Government? We don’t need no stinking government?

Posted by Charles II on September 17, 2012

Via Ritholtz, the latest insanity on privatization of public functions from Jessica Silver-Greenberg, NYT:

The letters are sent by the thousands to people across the country who have written bad checks, threatening them with jail if they do not pay up.

They bear the seal and signature of the local district attorney’s office. But there is a catch: the letters are from debt-collection companies, which the prosecutors allow to use their letterhead. In return, the companies try to collect not only the unpaid check, but also high fees from debtors for a class on budgeting and financial responsibility, some of which goes back to the district attorneys’ offices.

What’s next? We already have what amounts to debtors prisons. So…Press gangs?

Posted in impunity, privatization, unintended consequences | 1 Comment »

Restoring the monarchy: the American Legislative Council

Posted by Charles II on July 23, 2011

John Nichols has been spearheading an investigation of the American Legislative Council (ALEC), an organ of the corporate state founded by Paul Weyrich. Weyrich famously said that when people vote, the right loses.

So, here are some excerpts. Julie Underwood:

Public schools,” ALEC wrote in its 1985 Education Source Book, “meet all of the needs of all of the people without pleasing anyone.” A better system, the organization argued, would “foster educational freedom and quality” through various forms of privatization: vouchers, tax incentives for sending children to private schools and unregulated private charter schools. Today ALEC calls this “choice”—and vouchers “scholarships”—but it amounts to an ideological mission to defund and redesign public schools.

John Nichols:

Enacting burdensome photo ID or proof of citizenship requirements has long been an ALEC priority. ALEC and its sponsors have an enduring mission to pass laws that would make it harder for millions of Americans to vote, impose barriers to direct democracy and let big money flow more freely into campaigns.

Wendell Potter:

Click to read on

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in koch brothers, libertoonians, privatization, Republicans as cancer | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Mica Wants To Privatize Pornoscans, Not End Them

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 22, 2010

David Dayen has the scoop, discussing how John Mica’s (R-Florida) sudden opposition to Opt-Out Day reveals the true aims of Mica and of Republicans in general:

Now, Mica’s long-term goal is to get the TSA out of the transportation screening business. He wants to leverage public anger against “gate-rape” (h/t Marcy) to basically privatize the operation. I haven’t met anyone who thinks that would lead to a kinder and gentler security procedure, however. Mica and his cadres don’t really want to end the security state – they want to profit from it. Some of the civil libertarians in their midst may have different ideas, but when push comes to shove, their principles are being used by establishment Republicans to 1) hurt President Obama’s TSA and 2) legislate it out of existence, with private security taking over at airports.

Hell, the only reason TSA exists is because Bush’s brain Karl Rove and his fellow Republicans thought it would be a good way to try and break the Federal unions, using “national security” as the pretext. It must really burn their butts that TSA workers are now allowed to unionize. The fact that TSA employees now can join unions, just like their Customs and Border Patrol and DC Capitol Police brethren and cistern, is likely a big reason why Republicans who just loved TSA when Bush was in charge are now using the pornoscan controversy as a reason to dump TSA (but not the pornoscans).

By the way, if you’re looking for more effective and less costly ways to do screening than don’t involve repeated doses of radiation along with loss of dignity, this Mother Jones article has a few suggestions.

Posted in 2010, abuse of power, big money, privatization, Republicans, security theater, TSA, unions | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Pity Washington DC

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 20, 2010

All of its major newspapers are in the hands of neocons or paleocons, and none of them have your interests at heart.

Case in point: Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson, the Nixon Cabinet member who has been trying to destroy Social Security for the past two decades in the name of “fixing the deficit”, apparently now shares control of the WaPo’s newsroom with Fred Hiatt and can dump anti-SocSec and anti-Medicare pieces from his Fiscal Times propaganda rag into the Post whenever he wants:

It told readers that: “On the fiscal commission, Stern [Andy Stern, former head of the Service Employees International Union, one of members highlighted in the piece] is already looking for ways to break through the ideological camps on deficit-reduction.” In fact, individuals who are not motivated by ideology would note that the country’s projected long-term deficit problem is driven almost entirely by the broken U.S. health care system.

If per person health care costs were the same in the United States as in any other wealthy country, then the projections would show huge budget surpluses rather than deficits. It also should be possible for the people in the United States to take advantage of lower cost health care systems elsewhere even if the power of special interests like the insurance and pharmaceutical industry prevent reform here. This basic fact should feature prominently in any discussion of the long-term deficit that is not motivated by ideology. It is never mentioned in this piece.

But of course this is all part of the Southern Strategy: The corporate-religious bigot alliance to con white working-class Americans into voting for corporate tax cuts and against their own economic interests as a way to hurt people with darker skins than theirs. Once again, I bring Reagan advisor Lee Atwater back from the grave, all the way from 1981, to explain:

”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Ni–er, ni–er, ni–er.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘ni–er’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

”And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Ni–er, ni–er.”’

This is why his fellow Republicans were and are so angry at Michael Steele, who while he tries to be a good Republican has this unfortunate habit of remembering that he is a black man, and thus is incapable of hewing to the GOP lie that the Southern Strategy was never used after Nixon’s time. It is, in fact, not only still in use today, it is the basis of all Republican and conservative actions worth dignifying with the name.

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, deficit, distractions, Pete Peterson, phony scandals, privatization, safety net, Silver Spoon Squad, Social Security, Southern Strategy | 3 Comments »

Looks Like Pete Peterson Wrote Out Yet Another Check

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 15, 2010

Because this anti-Social-Security story reads like he’d custom ordered it:

For more than two decades, Social Security collected more money in payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits — billions more each year.

Not anymore. This year, for the first time since the 1980s, when Congress last overhauled Social Security, the retirement program is projected to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes — nearly $29 billion more.

Oh noez! That’s eight whole years earlier than predicted! Eeeek!

Except that’s not that big of a deal, as AARP explains:

Myth: The fund starts getting into trouble in 2018.

Not true. The year 2018 is when Social Security benefit payments are expected to exceed payroll tax revenues. That’s not exactly cataclysmic. Reason: from 2018 through 2027, incoming tax revenue combined with interest earnings will still be enough to pay benefits and build the trust fund balance. Beginning in 2028, as mentioned, the trust fund principal will have to be tapped, and that’ll get us through 2042—even if we do nothing.

Clearly a tune-up is needed to extend Social Security’s life beyond that horizon. “But dismantling the whole system would be like buying a new car because the one you have has a flat tire,” says Peter R. Orszag, a senior fellow of economic studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

But of course the privatizers want to get at the trillions in Social Security’s trust fund, so they can skim 14% to 20% straight off the top, as compared to the fraction of 1% in overhead costs of Social Security as it’s currently configured. This would reduce your benefits by 14% to 20% — something the privatizers don’t want you to know.

Oh, and the reason why Social Security might be putting out more this year than it takes in? The bad economy and stock market. What do the privatizers want you to do? Let them take your money out of nice, safe, fraction-of-1%-overhead Social Security and put it in the casino that is the open stock market. I think you can see what’s wrong with that concept.

Posted in 'starving the beast', big money, privatization, Social Security, You're On Your Own-ership Society | 2 Comments »

Corruption in privatization of compassion

Posted by Charles II on March 29, 2008

We are told endlessly that government is inefficient and wasteful. Let charities take care of the poor, they say, because there’s better oversight.

So, exactly how good is private charity?  Well….

Stephanie Strom, NYT (via t/o) describes a report done by four accounting professors:

But what is getting the attention of nonprofit leaders is the report’s estimate of the overall cost, which the authors put at $40 billion for 2006, or some 13 percent of the roughly $300 billion given to charity that year.

The new report is based on data from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, which, the report said, found that “all organizations,” whether government, for-profit or nonprofit, “lose on average 6 percent of their revenue to fraud every year.” Applying that percentage to nonprofits’ total 2006 revenue of $665 billion – donations, government payments and other income – the authors came up with the $40 billion estimate.

If the $40 billion figure is accurate, then the money lost to fraud equaled the combined giving by corporations and foundations in 2006, said Diana Aviv, president and chief executive of the Independent Sector, which represents nonprofit groups.

So, is it higher at non-profits or in government? That’s not yet clear. But the dollar costs of frauds at non-profits that are cited are huge. So, one can predict that the estimate is probably not far from wrong.

Posted in corruption, privatization | 7 Comments »

The Social Security Privatization Scare Brigade Rides Again

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 26, 2008

Per Atrios:

That Time Of Year Already?

Social Security trustees report comes out today. Get prepared for usual round of IT’S GOING BANKRUPT AND WE’LL HAVE TO CUT THEIR BENEFITS UNLESS WE CUT THEIR BENEFITS.

…and here it is.
Quick glance says no substantial change from last year’s projections. On to dig through and see what’s up with the assumptions…

Of course, those who’ve been following along for the past few years know that the trustees are full of it.

For example: Y’all know how the privatizers claim that destroying Social Security and turning its money over to the privatizers will result in higher rates of return?

Well, simple common sense shows that this is Pure-D horsepucky, but for those who would like some additional evidence, here ya go: Back during the last Great Privatization Push that started in December of 2004, this theory was tested by a retiree named Stanley Logue, who actually did the math — and guess what? Social Security outperformed the DJIA. Really and truly.

Posted in Bush, bust-outs, capitalism as cancer, privatization, Social Security | Comments Off on The Social Security Privatization Scare Brigade Rides Again

Let’s Hope This Sends a Message

Posted by MEC on February 23, 2008

Patsy Bates of Lakewood, California has been awarded $9 million as a settlement against her insurance company, Health Net Inc., which cancelled her policy in 2004 because she developed breast cancer and they didn’t want to pay her medical bills.

That’s a good start. Whoever made the decision to cancel her policy should be charged with attempted manslaughter, too, because her cancer treatments stopped when the bills went unpaid.Fortunately, a state-funded program enabled Ms. Bates to continue the treatment. If she hadn’t lived in a state that had such a program, she’d be dead.

This detail tells us just how broken our system is:

The award came a day after the Los Angeles city attorney sued Health Net, claiming it illegally canceled the coverage of about 1,600 patients. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo also said the company illegally ran an incentive program in which it paid bonuses to an administrator for meeting targets of policy cancelations.

The next time you hear somebody say that our for-profit health care system is better than a government-run system like Canada’s, tell them about Patsy Bates. Ask them whether people should die to protect corporate profits.

Posted in capitalism as cancer, health care, privatization | 1 Comment »

Department of A-Yep

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 22, 2008

Saw this over at Eschaton this morning:

Morning Thread

To paraphrase a commenter over at Firedoglake:

How’s that plan for putting social security into the hands of Citibank, Merrill Lynch and the other financial ‘wizards’ as President Bush had so strongly urged looking now?

Posted in Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, capitalism as cancer, conservativism, corruption, cronies, economy, gravy train, privatization, Social Security | 4 Comments »

Thursday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 10, 2008


Dan Rather gets to do a little discovery on BushCo.  This oughta be fun.  Of course, Big Media will ignore this in favor of facilitating Dr. Phil’s unprofessional behavior with Britney Spears.

Possible new Alzheimer’s treatment?  Maybe, but there need to be more studies.

WaPo lies about Social Security.  Dean Baker calls them on it.

It will soon be legal in the UK to rip music, video and data tracks to CD, once the UK’s copyright laws (which are apparently even more bizarre than in the US) are updated.

Posted in 'starving the beast', big money, Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, Good Things, GOP/Media Complex, media, Media machine, mediawhores, mythmaking, privatization, science and medicine, Social Security | Comments Off on Thursday Morning News Roundup

%d bloggers like this: